David Darrow was ticked off. He was really aggravated about the things going on in his life. The push, the pull, the shove. He was angry about a lot of things and he just couldn’t seem to do enough quick enough. Then he had to take a flight out of Phoenix to be with his family in Charlotte for the Fourth of July holiday. Holiday travel is just the worst. So he finally boarded and took his seat.
A few minutes later, everything halted. And now David was even more aggitated. Now what? Why in the world have they stopped the boarding, he cursed under his breath, angry that he might miss his connecting flight. The captain then came on the loud speaker and explained to everyone what was happening.
He said another passenger… a special passenger… was preparing to board that flight. That special passenger was a soldier lying in his coffin. He had been killed in Afghanistan a few days before and he was on his way back home so his family could bury him.
Many of the passengers looked out their windows to watch as the ground crew carefully loaded the soldier’s coffin onto the plane. Others from the ground crew stopped at the side, quietly honoring that soldier as he boarded the plane. He was being flown home to North Carolina.
The captain then came out from the cockpit, and told the passengers that he, too, had also served in the military, and that four of his children were now serving. And he started to cry.
With that, practically every passenger in that area of the plane put their heads down and began shedding tears. And it hit David just as hard. Because here he was just moments earlier an angry man, complaining that he was going to miss his connecting flight, and basically angry at the world for every little thing. But now, all those little things didn’t seem to matter.
That special person who was boarding his plane had given his life so that others may enjoy their freedoms, and even those freedoms to complain and be angry. He had given his life so that David and the others there could enjoy the airplane peanuts and the common chit-chat between the passengers and the flight attendants.
He had given his life so that all those on board that plane could travel to see their families and be with them on the Fourth of July, when we do, indeed, celebrate our freedom.
And while so many families did just that, one family in North Carolina was putting their son, maybe their husband or dad, into the ground. David just couldn’t stop thinking about it and the sadness overwhelmed him and all his trivial problems meant nothing.
He later posted about it on social media, saying he was truly proud to be an American.